The History of Holidays: From Lord Byron's Grand Tour to Mass Tourism

TLDR This episode explores the history of holidays, focusing on Lord Byron's Grand Tour in 1809 and how it influenced modern vacations. The Grand Tour, popularized by British aristocrats, involved traveling abroad to collect art and gain cultural experiences, eventually leading to the rise of mass tourism.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The episode discusses the history of holidays, specifically focusing on Lord Byron's Grand Tour in 1809 as a precursor to modern vacations.
04:40 The British aristocrats were not the only ones going on the Grand Tour, but they seemed to have become more fixated on it and brought back art and aesthetics to their country houses.
08:45 The Grand Tour was a trend started by British aristocrats in the early 17th century, with the first mention of the phrase in 1670, and it involved traveling abroad to collect art and gain intellectual, social, political, and ethical experiences.
13:11 The Grand Tour involved traveling to various European destinations, including Switzerland, where the appeal was the Protestant influence, and then continuing on to Rome, Naples, and other cities to experience the art, culture, and picturesque landscapes.
17:28 The Grand Tour involved bringing back imitations of what people had seen abroad, such as Richard Boyle who brought back 40,868 crates of marbles, paintings, and vases, and James Boswell's desire to see famous people like Rousseau and Voltaire.
21:50 Boswell's encounter with Rousseau and Voltaire during his Grand Tour, as well as his affair with Rousseau's lover Therese, highlight the theme of seeking out famous and exotic individuals during travels.
26:20 Bath and Brighton were two of the world's first modern holiday destinations, with Bath being a popular spa town and Brighton gaining popularity due to the interweaving of health and holidays.
31:08 Bonache is a social facilitator in Bath who determines whether newcomers are suitable to join the smart set, while Brighton gained popularity due to the belief that drinking seawater and immersing oneself in it would improve health.
35:34 Dr. Russell, the originator of the seawater business in Brighton, built a large house there that became a popular destination for people seeking the restorative properties of the sea, including the future George IV who later commissioned the Royal Pavilion.
39:59 Byron goes on a grand tour with his friend, John Cam Hobhouse, visiting places like Portugal, Malta, Albania, Greece, and Constantinople, and his experiences and descriptions of these places become the archetype of the romantic poem and make him a superstar in British publishing history.
44:43 Byron's Grand Tour becomes more conventional as he follows the route of the Grand Tour, but the increasing popularity of travel among all classes of society, including the riffraff, marks the beginning of mass tourism.
Categories: History

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